Atari 2600: Harem
Harem is an adult video game created in 1982 by Multivision. It was never released, and only exists as a prototype.
Identifier atari_2600_harem_1982_multivision_michael_caseMediatype softwareScanner Internet Archive Python library 0.4.8Publicdate 2013-12-25 11:00:01Addeddate 2013-12-25 11:00:01Emulator a2600Emulator_ext binController joystickBackup_location ia905801_29
Let's face it, pornographic games aren't generally known for their plot. Usually there's a flimsy excuse for a character to have sex with multiple women with a bit of danger thrown in for good measure, but that's about all. That being said, usually the plots make some sort of sense (albiet a bit simplistic or contrived). The same can't be said about Harem, which may just be the most surreal pornographic game to ever grace the 2600.
Your character starts at the lower left of a multi-tiered screen and must make his way to the woman to the right, however you'll soon find out that someone is out to stop your stud monkey conquests at all costs. The first obstacle you'll encounter takes the form of a sniper hiding in a bush, the second obstacle takes the form of a river, the third obstacle takes the form of a dragon, and the final obstacle consists of lava-dumping gargoyles. A woman is on the other side of each obstacle.
Each time you make it to one of the women, you will start the "humping" mini-game. Your goal here is to meet her thrusts by pushing right every time she thrusts her pelvis. If you're successful in your timing you will score a point and a tone will sound. Each time you score a point, the tone will get higher and higher indicating that danger is approaching. If you continue to "score" past a certain point (around 8 or so points) your woman will appear to explode and you will fall into a pit and die. To avoid this, make sure you push the button to escape before this happens. If you manage to score 69 points you will earn an extra life.
March 8, 2015
Try to guess the theme...
Pornographic games for the 2600 stirred up quite a controversy back in the day. In those days video games were thought of simply as children’s toys and not the respectable multibillion industry (catering to all ages) it is today. So porn games became standard fodder for the daytime talk shows of the era and it’s not too surprising to see why. Like today the target audience for such shows was stay-at-home moms, and here was a topic that was both sexually titillating and called for that most classic of battle cries: WE NEED TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN!!! It was a ratings slam dunk.
I was a kid—a full-blown video game fanatic—in those days and had absolutely no idea such games even existed…until the talk shows conveniently informed me of them. But so what? Even if I had known where (presumably by mail order) to get such games I wouldn’t have bought one. The reasons why are simple. The 2600’s blocky graphics made just making a recognizable human form difficult, much less an anatomically correct one. In fact you could play most of these types of games out in public without nearby people even recognizing it as porn. I would actually feel worried about someone who got aroused by them.
The other reason was financial. In today’s money a 2600 cartridge cost around $80 dollars. Few kids had the cash for an extensive collection so you had to choose your purchases carefully. It was obvious that a porn game was just a gimmick – a video game version of a novelty gag gift you might see on the adult aisle in Spencer’s Gifts at the mall. I’m sure they were good for laughs at a bachelor part or in the common room of a frat house but, in terms of game play, they were terrible. As a case-in-point the most famous 2600 porn game was probably Custer’s Revenge which managed to be offensive to both women and Native Americans.* Here, an anatomically Custer simply moved from one side of the screen to other, dodging a few arrows and some cactus placed at a strategic (anatomically correct) height off the ground. Ouch! On the other side of the screen was a naked squaw tied to a post. Need I go on? Even assuming you weren’t offended by this, once all the locker room laughter ended that’s all there was. The game was little more than an animated one-panel comic you might see in a men’s magazine. (Huh? How much did you pay for this?)
I’ve run across several porn games here in the 2600 library (the Archive description conveniently warns you what you’re getting into) and most of them, like Custer’s Revenge, would only rate one star. There are, however, a few that actually seem to have put some thought into game play. The best of these I’ve seen is a game called Harem. This game was actually never released and half of the fun is trying to figure out what theme it was going to have. If I said it was like James Bond meets The Legend of Zelda in a late-night cable movie I wouldn’t come close. It’s just that those are the only descriptions I can think of that seem to cover all the bases.
The game is divided into four puzzles you must solve and all the action takes place on a single screen. For the first puzzle you must get past a sniper shooting at you from behind a bush. Then you have sex with a woman (and it’s here that you actually score points). Next you must figure out how to get across a river. Then you have sex with a woman (in a different position to add variety I suppose). The next challenge is probably the best. Here you must get past a fire-breathing dragon. There’s also a pit containing what I first took to be a garden hose that you could use to put out the dragon’s fire. It turns out to be a poisonous snake that morphs into the shape of a woman (and you can probably guess which shape you want it to be if you decide to drop in and score some points). Finally, at the top of the screen, you must chase down a woman while gargoyles try to spew hot lava on you and, if you can score 69 points, you get an extra life. [Insert locker room laughter here.] None of these challenges are particularly hard…er…difficult but I did find myself hitting the reset button and trying to solve them. Because of this I give Harem 2/5 stars and if I’m drinking I might go as high as 2 ½. I should also state that this is definitely NOT one of those games you can play in public. [Insert more locker room laughter here.]
Oddly, after the 2600 controversy, I never again heard much about porn video games. There was that prostitute scene in the coding for Grand Theft Auto that was never supposed to be in the game. Female warriors in fantasy games often have big breasts and I did see an ad for a more adult themed online fantasy game, but ever since those stupid strip poker games on early PCs there doesn’t seem to have been much of a merger. Perhaps I should start watching more daytime talk shows to get the latest news.
*It’s evidently still popular since it receives many downloads here at the Archives.